I love the HBO series, True Detective. Written and created by Nic Pizzolato, it follows the path of two main characters per season as they investigate crimes. The first season stars Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey as they chase down a ritual killer. McConaughey and Harrelson make an interesting pairing and they have quotable dialogue about faith, love, family, violence and life throughout the season.
Pizzolato, I’m assuming on purpose, has McConaughey’s character as an atheist and Harrelson’s character as a believer. In real life, their personal beliefs are switched, with Harrelson the atheist and McConaughey a practicing Catholic.
The show is intense and gritty. The pair break down doors and shake down criminals, all through the quest to do what is right, even if it means being “bad men” in the process.
The one we know as Paul, the writer of the majority of the New Testament, was the lowest of the low, the most “bad man” in his time. Paul was the enforcer. Here was a unique combination of Jewish man and Roman citizen tasked by his government to ferret out and arrest those following this new belief system rising out of Jerusalem.
At the time, Rome ruled the territory and these believers were opposition, insurgents whose actions led to wild claims and movements causing disquiet in the halls of power.
Imagine a dusty street two thousand years ago.
Life passes on a daily routine to the market, work, meals and family. Yet there is a buzzing, a movement stirring. People speak in the corners in whispers as they look out for wandering ears. They spread messages of great things and renewed hope as this Paul rides into town with soldiers at his side.
There’s a scene in the first season of True Detective where McConaughey’s character, acting as an undercover member of a gang, raids a suspected drug house. He kicks down the door and gathers opposition guys at gun point.
In the book of Acts, a similar scene plays out. We read of the stoning of Stephen and, in the midst of the violence, Paul stands to the side admiring the work.
This was not someone to mess with.
As his group progresses down the Damascus Road, a blinding light appears.
There are times that our vision will vanish, times of tragedy, sorrow, loss or distress. Health issues materialize out of the blue and life changes before you leave the doctor’s office.
In 2008, I had spent five years at a financial company. I knew it wasn’t my destiny and I’d stared at many computer monitors dreaming of a change. When the recession happened, I was laid off with three hundred other employees. I drove home to the house we had just purchased, picked up our six-month old son, and cried.
The light was blinding and, in the midst of it, the narrative shifts.
If you are enjoying these posts, preview selections of my upcoming publication The _nd, please share and follow. There are changes coming in the near future that I’m excited to share. The _nd is truly the beginning. Stay tuned!